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The role of contract administrators and project managers

Contract administrators, project managers and contractors play a key role in construction contracts.

The project manager

A Project Manager (PM) is the person who manages a construction project; they’ll have overall responsibility for the successful planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure of a project. They must have a combination of skills, including an ability to ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve conflicts, as well as more general management skills required in construction management.

The main tasks of a PM are:

  • To mobilise and coordinate all parties involved
  • To enter into contracts on behalf of the developer
  • To arrange the entire process of construction as authorised by the developer
  • To perform all activities necessary to put the development into operation

The contract administrator

In the construction industry, the Contract Administrator (CA) is the individual responsible for administering the construction standard contracts. The CA could be a project architect or a construction manager or any consultant assigned by the client.

For the UK, the difference between a CA and a PM is that the CA is used in Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT) contracts while PM is the term used in New Engineering Contracts (NEC).

The contractors and sub-contractors

A contractor is an individual or organisation involved in carrying out construction works from the beginning to the end. However, the contractor may engage other groups of contractors (sub-contractors) to carry out different portions of the assigned work.

Contractors may vary from main contractor, prime contractors, management contractors depending on the type of construction project.

Your task

If you were a client and would like to engage a contractor for a project, what characteristics would you seek from the person? Share your answer in the comments area and explain your reasoning.

Further reading

If you’d like to learn more about construction management, you may want to read the following publication:

Lam, P. and Chen, A. (1994) Construction Management as a Procurement Method: A New Direction, CIBI.

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This article is from the free online course:

Contract Management and Procurement: An Introduction

Coventry University